Dyson invests £5m in UK robotics

Micro Electronics

by Ben Sullivan| 10 February 2014

Research will "make our lives easier and lead to previously unthinkable technologies."

Dyson, the firm best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, has announced it will invest £5m in a robotics lab based in Imperial College in London.

It has been reported that the research will focus on systems that enable robots to better understand and visualise the world around them.

Prof. Andrew Davison of Imperial College has been working with Dyson since 2005, but this is the first time Dyson has pumped in such a large amount of money.

Sir James Dyson said: "My generation believed the world would be overrun by robots by the year 2014. We now have the mechanical and electronic capabilities, but robots still lack understanding - seeing and thinking in the way we do.

"Mastering this will make our lives easier and lead to previously unthinkable technologies."

Dyson pulled a prototype robotic hoover back in 2001, claiming it was too heavy and expensive. Other firms have since established robotic vacuum cleaners on the market, such as LG's Hom-Bot and iRobot's Roomba.

The £5m five-year investment will fund 15 scientists aided by a further £3m of match-funding from other sources.

Davison said: "A truly intelligent domestic robot needs to complete complex everyday tasks while adapting to a constantly changing environment.

"We will research and develop systems that allow machines to both understand and perceive their surroundings - using vision to achieve it."

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